John Calder, 1983. Item #1976
Paper over boards with printed unclipped dust jacket. A different version of this text was published under the same title in a limited edition by Covent Garden Press and Am Here Books in 1980. Inscribed to poet John Ashbery in Lawrence, KS, March 6, 1984: "For John Ashbery an old showman with memories of the Grand Forks gig William S. Burroughs."
The mention of Grand Forks and the poet's status as an "old showman" is likely a reference to an event that took place in 1978 when Ashbery and Burroughs were participants in the 9th Annual Univ. of North Dakota Writers Conference along with Amiri Baraka, Eudora Welty, Tillie Olsen, and Ring Lardner, Jr. Biographer Ted Morgan describes the scene: "After the reading, they all went to the hotel cocktail lounge, where a stage hypnotist called for volunteers from the audience. Ashbery…a painfully reticent man, was in a congenial mood that night, chatting with James [Grauerholz], and they both got on the tiny stage…The hypnotist told them they were strippers and gave them women's names—Ashbery was 'Bubbles.' He put on some Minsky music and to James's surprise, the normally prim Ashbery started undressing. He took off his jacket and tie, he unbuttoned his shirt and took that off, as he smiled seductively and fluttered his eyelashes…" (Morgan. p. 480.) Very near fine in like jacket.